Dylan Bundy didn’t ask for the rest. He had it thrust upon him.
And he’s fine with it.
Bundy was supposed to start Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla., but his spot suddenly became marked as TBD, leading to media speculation that he was hurt. And leading to some fan speculation that he was traded.
Manager Brandon Hyde offered an explanation later that already had been communicated to Bundy. The lines are always open.
Working backward in a sense to set up the rotation and seeking the most favorable matchups down the road, along with proper rest for All-Star left-hander John Means, Hyde pushed back Bundy to tonight in Toronto and will use him again in exactly one week against the Rays at Camden Yards.
Shuffling the starters is keeping Bundy off the mound since June 26, when he lasted only four innings for his shortest appearance since going 3 2/3 in his first two games of the season. He’s made the necessary adjustments in preparation, which he said are minimal.
“I just threw another bullpen,” he said. “Didn’t really mess up my routine at all. If anything, you get some extra work in before the next start. So I got an extra long toss day and a bullpen day.
“I was happy with it and I’m looking forward to Friday.”
Means could pitch Tuesday if used by American League manager Alex Cora in Cleveland. He’s become a starter option at this point, so anything is possible. And Hyde doesn’t want to rush him back into the rotation.
Slotting Bundy into the first game after the break also allows him to start on normal rest July 17 against the Nationals at Camden Yards.
The entire thought process has been explained by Hyde and pitching coach Doug Brocail.
“No problem with it at all,” Bundy said. “Hyder and me and Broc and everybody talked about it. They have a plan and they have a reason to do it, so that’s all that matters to us and that’s all that matters at all.
“I’m first game back after the break and that’s all I know after that, so nothing wrong with that.”
Bundy won’t refuse the rest. He just isn’t pushing for it.
He’ll take it as it comes.
“Yeah, always I think it’s beneficial to get some extra days in there,” he said. “I don’t think any starting pitcher will admit to that or want that. We want the ball anytime we can get it and usually that’s every five days, but a little breather here is fine. And then the All-Star break is a little reset and be ready to go the first game after the break.”
Bundy enters tonight’s game with one win since May 17, though a pitcher’s record is largely meaningless unless he’s earned it by getting shelled in every outing. He’s 3-10 with a 4.91 ERA and 1.340 WHIP and averaging 9.6 strikeouts per nine innings, same amount as last season.
His finest work was done in the month of May, with a 2.64 ERA and 0.978 WHIP in 30 2/3 innings. Only four of his 19 home runs were surrendered in those five starts.
Bundy had a 6.67 ERA and 1.518 WHIP before May and registered a 5.68 ERA and 1.579 WHIP in five starts in June. His four-seamer gained a tick more velocity last month and he had the highest percentage of curveball usage in two years, according to brooksbaseball.net.
Since tossing 7 1/3 scoreless innings on May 4, Bundy has failed to complete the sixth in seven of nine starts.
“Getting deeper in games is what I’m looking forward to in the second half,” he said. “Getting a little further in the game and consistently more often I guess is what I want. But I’m happy with the off-speed pitches right now.
“Locating the heater’s still got to get better. Like, always. Every pitcher can always locate better. I’m looking forward to it, though.”